Being a good writer means recognizing and learning from good writing.
I just finished reading the book In Sheep's Clothing by Susan May Warren. It's a romantic christian suspense novel set in Russia. Gracie Benson, a missionary in Russia, is on the run from murders who killed her friend. A FSB agent, who is wrestling with his own demons, tries to keep her alive. The two end up being hunted by a killer who has been laying in wait for decades. What Gracie doesn't know is that she she holds a secret that could save millions of lives, but only if she can get out of Russia alive before the killer gets her.
Ok, now I'll go into more detail. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
Gracie Benson is a wonderfully written character. She's a missionary who feels as though she has failed God because she can't even convert her best friend, Larrisa. Her visa is about to expire and while she knows she must leave Russia she wishes for another chance to do God's work.
Vicktor is the hero of the book. He's Russian and a member of the FSB. He's got a close knit group of friends who are christians, however, Vicktor refuses to believe in God. He's haunted by his past, specifically a killer who simply goes by The Wolf. Vicktor and his father (a cop ) chased the Wolf down into a building. Vicktor's father said to hold back, but Vicktor didn't listen. He went into the building, the Wolf knocked him down and ran out shooting Vicktor's father in the leg. Vicktor's father is forced to retire and he know spends his days alone in his apartment.
The Wolf is back after a decade of laying in wait. What Gracie doesn't know is that her friends are not as pure as they appear. A medical miracle was produced that can cure cancer. Gracie unknowingly has the cure in her possession. Her friends asked her to send their mail to the US. In the stack of mail is the cure addressed to a medical facility in the US.
There are a ton of twists and turns in the book that keep the reader thoroughly entertained. I continually was surprised by betrayals and just when I thought I had all the characters figured out, someone would surprise me.
In the middle of the suspense is the love story of Gracie and Vicktor. Gracie falls for him but knows that she can't truly give her heart to a non-Christian. Vicktor falls for her knowing that as well. But as the book progresses, all this discussions Vicktor had with his friends start to pop in his head. He begins asking Gracie questions about God's grace and forgiveness. He struggles with the idea that he could be so easily forgiven but he desperately wants the weight of his guilt off his shoulders. Gracie leads him and prayer and Vicktor turns over his grief for Jesus. It's a beautifully written moment when Vicktor becomes a christian and finally feels free.
Once the murder is finally captured (I won't actually say how or give away who the murder is because you really need to read the book!!) Gracie still needs to leave Russia. Her visa has expired. She and Vicktor kiss and he promises to see her again. As she sits on the plane home, holding the miracle cure, he walks down the aisle (he hitched a ride) and surprises her.
That's the end.
I thought it was an amazing story with characters who you'll easily fall in love with. The way Susan May Warren instantly draws you into the story is superb. She delicately weaves a suspenseful story with the message of God's love.
I highly recommend this book!